The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean: 215 Healthy, Vibrant, and Inspired Recipes by Paula Wolfert

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    • Categories: Dips, spreads & salsas; Mediterranean; Vegetarian
    • Ingredients: walnuts; pomegranate molasses; pine nuts; ground cumin; red peppers; Fresno chiles; whole wheat crackers
    • Categories: Dips, spreads & salsas; Georgian; Vegetarian
    • Ingredients: ground coriander; pomegranate molasses; marigold petals; walnuts; coriander leaves; Near East pepper
    • Categories: Dips, spreads & salsas; Greek; Vegetarian
    • Ingredients: potatoes; white wine; garlic; olive oil
    • Categories: Sauces, general; Turkish; Vegetarian
    • Ingredients: garlic; stale bread; apple cider vinegar; blanched almonds
    • Categories: Dressings & marinades; Mediterranean; Vegetarian
    • Ingredients: lemons; tahini; grapefruit juice
    • Categories: Sauces, general; Mediterranean; Vegetarian
    • Ingredients: parsley; grapefruit juice; tahini; lemons
    • Categories: Sauces, general; Mediterranean; Vegetarian
    • Ingredients: yogurt; tahini; lemons; grapefruit juice
    • Categories: Sauces for fish; Mediterranean; Vegetarian
    • Ingredients: walnuts; grapefruit juice; lemons; Swiss chard; tahini
    • Categories: Dips, spreads & salsas; Mediterranean; Vegetarian
    • Ingredients: tahini; chickpeas
    • Categories: Dips, spreads & salsas; Mediterranean
    • Ingredients: ground lamb; ground cinnamon; ground allspice; pita bread; pine nuts; hummus
    • Categories: Dips, spreads & salsas; Mediterranean; Vegetarian
    • Ingredients: parsley; tahini; Aleppo pepper; tomatoes; eggplants
    • Categories: Sauces, general; Mediterranean; Vegetarian
    • Ingredients: dried mint; garlic; yogurt; mint; cucumbers
    • Categories: Dips, spreads & salsas; Mediterranean; Vegetarian
    • Ingredients: yogurt; summer squash; ground cumin; tahini
    • Categories: Dips, spreads & salsas; Mediterranean; Vegetarian
    • Ingredients: dill; cilantro; sour plums; mint; garlic
    • Categories: Bread & rolls, savory; Turkish; Vegetarian
    • Ingredients: chapati flour; green chiles; scallions; pot cheese
    • Categories: Bread & rolls, savory; Syrian; Vegetarian
    • Ingredients: active dry yeast; unbleached white flour; whole wheat flour
    • Categories: Bread & rolls, savory; Georgian; Vegetarian
    • Ingredients: whole wheat flour; active dry yeast; bread flour
    • Categories: Bread & rolls, savory; Turkish; Vegetarian
    • Ingredients: wheat bran flour; whole wheat flour; active dry yeast; nigella seeds
    • Categories: Bread & rolls, savory; Georgian; Vegetarian
    • Ingredients: mozzarella cheese; cornmeal; pot cheese
    • Categories: Bread & rolls, savory; Balkan; Vegetarian
    • Ingredients: milk; sour cream; club soda; cornmeal; farina; ricotta cheese
    • Categories: Pies, tarts & pastries; Mediterranean; Vegetarian
    • Ingredients: active dry yeast; all-purpose flour
    • Categories: Pizza & calzones; Main course; Mediterranean
    • Ingredients: canned tomatoes; ground cumin; ground lamb; active dry yeast; red pepper paste; tomato paste; pomegranate molasses; all-purpose flour; parsley; eggplants

Notes about this book

  • Eat Your Books

    1995 International Association of Culinary Professionals Award Winner, James Beard Award Winner

Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Vegetarian red lentil ovals with tarragon-onion salad

    • featherbooks on May 20, 2016

      Very wet so I had to wring it in dish towels before forming ovals; need a bit more Aleppo pepper: salad was very good.

    • Yildiz100 on March 21, 2019

      I had no problems with the mixture being overly wet. I boiled the lentils uncovered-the recipe doesn't specify but seems to imply that ia how it should be done. I thought these were excellent. Unlike some other recipes for this dish, the "kibbe" in this case contain no raw onion, so they keep better than most. (I find that raw cut onion mixed with fat, like olive oil or mayo, smells terrible after a few hours.) The salad is a lovely sharp contrast to the lentils, and made with no fat so it doesn't get that off smell either. However, it's best to make the salad component at the last min anyway, it looks much nicer when freshly made.

  • Middle Eastern bread salad (Fattoush)

    • westminstr on July 30, 2015

      I subbed radish for green pepper and spring greens for arugula. Also used pita chips as I usually do when making this dish. It was a perfectly fine version of fattoush, but I prefer the versions from Jerusalem and Mediterranean Harvest.

  • Rice and lentil pilaf megadarra

    • Breadcrumbs on July 15, 2015

      p. 227 - I have been keen to try a Chicken Tikka from The Hairy Biker’s Curry book and when I spotted this neutrally seasoned lentil/rice dish I thought it would work well with the Tikka. I also made the much-loved Tomato Onion Feta salad from this book to go alongside since the Hairy guys were recommending a tomato onion salad anyway. This dish shines in its simplicity. The onions are the key flavour, enhanced by the two types and the crispy ones atop really steal the show. I used less oil than the ½ cup PW calls for. PW notes that if you reduce the oil your onions won’t crisp but I used about ¼ cup of oil in a very small pan so my onions crisped up nicely. I then cooked the remainder using the same oil but in a larger pan. I did drizzle some really nice EVOO atop the finished dish for a little peppery punch. I served PW’s garlic-yoghurt sauce alongside. That too worked well with the Tikka. Photos here:

  • Stewed potatoes with tomatoes and feta

    • Breadcrumbs on July 14, 2015

      p. 201 - Ms Wolfert describes this as a simple peasant dish from Northern Greece but it was the combination of potatoes stewed in a tomato-onion sauce topped with a creamy feta that appealed to mr bc and I. The dish was delicious and I’d suggest that the quality of your feta may make or break the success of this dish. I chose a super-creamy Macedonian feta and it worked a charm. The finished dish is topped with sliced feta. The sauce is delicate but flavourful enough to infuse the potatoes enough to enhance their earthiness. The recipe calls for waxy potatoes and I happened to pick up some fresh ones yesterday at a farm stand and I must say, they were exceptional in this dish. This dish can be served hot or warm. We loved it on its own, along with our grilled pork and atop pita bread for a Greek-style chip butty. This recipe is a keeper. Photo here:

    • L.Nightshade on July 15, 2015

      Compelled by Breadcrumbs’ beautiful photo, I made this last night to accompany the fish in cumin-flavored tomato sauce. Mr. NS brought home an interesting feta: It’s kosher, made in Ohio, under the direction of an Israeli dairy, with cow’s milk from Amish farms. It’s soft and creamy, lodged in a sea salt brine, which easily rinses off. Those are not huge chunks of feta atop the dish, I just used very small potatoes! Because of this, they were done in only about 20 minutes. Another hit, and an easy one.

  • Hummus

    • Breadcrumbs on July 27, 2015

      p. 24 - As the month is winding down I found the prospects of Spanish month on Chowhound distracting me from this book over the weekend. As I sat pondering paella on Saturday mr bc said “hey, how come you never made hummus this month?” and I had to admit, he had a point. It seems none of us have! This is a plain and simple version of the classic. PW’s technique here was new to me as she has you blitz the tahini, garlic and lemon juice until it “whitens” then you add the water and finally the beans. Dip then mellows at room temp before making an indentation in the centre with the back of a spoon and adding oil (presumably the reserved chickpeas though they aren’t mentioned) and seasoning of your choice. I went with Aleppo pepper and sumac. Delicious. This simple preparation really lets the creamy beans shine and is a nice reminder that sometimes less is best. I’m glad mr bc prompted me to make this. Photo here:

  • Lebanese tomato, onion, and spiced cheese salad

    • Breadcrumbs on July 15, 2015

      p. 137 - Add mr bc and I to those singing the praises of this lovely little salad. We especial enjoyed the spiced cheese. My tomatoes weren’t the best, it’s still a bit early for local ones but the topping more than made up for what the tomatoes failed to deliver. I’m thinking I’d like some Kalamata olives tossed in with the tomatoes at some point as well. I love the new-to-me technique of marinating the cheese cubes in the spice mixture. I’m imagining endless possibilities for using this application again and again. The quality of your finishing EVOO could make or break this dish so it’s worth using something you love. No one believed me when I said this salad didn’t have any dressing, it’s just so flavourful. As I was plating this I was also thinking that this salad would be lovely scooped atop warm, grilled pita bread. Photos here:

    • TrishaCP on July 11, 2015

      I enjoyed this light and refreshing summer salad. Next time I would probably substitute basil for the parsley, as the parsley tasted a bit harsh to me. The spiced cheese is delicious.

    • stockholm28 on July 11, 2015

      The spiced cheese is a great addition to a fairly basic tomato salad. This is a good dish to highlight flavorful tomatoes.

  • Baba ghanoush

    • Breadcrumbs on July 20, 2015

      p. 26 - Years ago mr bc and I used to pick up Baba Ghanoush on a regular basis when we visited The St. Lawrence Market in Toronto. Though we really enjoy it, I’ve never made it or even thought of making it for that matter. It’s always been one of those things that I’ve assumed is best left to the professionals. That said, sherrib’s enthusiasm for the recipe in this book was irresistibly infectious and we actually turned the car around to head back to a farm stand yesterday after I read sherrib’s second CH review on my iPad while we were out running errands! I’m delighted to say that we loved this recipe. We loved the smokey, earthy flavour of the eggplant and it amazed us how superior this version was to the one we’ve been purchasing for years now. Brighter, bolder and beautifully balanced this is a lovely Baba Ghanoush and I will look no further for my “go-to” recipe. Thanks sherrib!! Photo here:

    • sherrib on July 18, 2015

      This recipe is outstanding! Grilling the eggplant yielded a smoky flavor that is out of this world. Honestly, I've never made my own baba ghanoush before but I can't imagine ever needing another recipe. Ever. This puts any mayonnaise laden, smokeless supermarket variety to shame. Once the eggplant was grilled, it all came together quickly as processing the ingredients all together was easy and didn't take much time. I tripled the recipe for guests with much success. Picture here:

  • Caucasian marinated pork kabobs

    • Breadcrumbs on July 14, 2015

      p. 333 - These looked so exceptional I simply couldn’t resist making this recipe. I used pork tenderloin vs shoulder since I picked up two tenderloins for $6. I marinated my meat for 24 hours however mr bc grilled it atop charcoal so I found the flavour of the wood somewhat overwhelmed the flavours of the marinade. I’ll try this again on the gas grill in order to let the flavours of the marinade shine. That said, the pomegranate onion flavours were discernable and we loved these tender, juicy kabobs. I’ve never grated onion before in a marinade but I’ll definitely use this technique again as it produced lots of onion water/juice that somehow seemed to tenderize in addition to flavouring the meat. I made the yogurt garlic sauce from this book and it was absolutely outstanding atop the meat, it definitely brought out the sweetness of the pork. Photo here:

    • L.Nightshade on July 15, 2015

      I did this recipe exactly as written. I do wish we had used tenderloin as Breadcrumbs did, I prefer a more tender meat, but no one else seemed to mind. I made these for a stand-up food party, so de-kabobed them for serving with small plates and forks, or pita triangles. I also wish I had served the onion salad right alongside the meat as Allegra did, as I ended up being too busy to supply instruction, and none of the guests were drawn to eat the onions. But they cleaned up the plate of pork! I love pomegranate molasses, and I’m happy to have this easy little marinade up my sleeve.

    • Zosia on June 07, 2014

      I'm always looking for recipes that help to use my pomegranate molasses and this one turned out to be a great choice: the flavour of the pork was savoury with just a hint of fruitiness...even family who don't like fruit with meat enjoyed this. I used a leaner cut of pork (rib roast) and made sure to cook it slowly over low heat to keep it tender.

  • Turkish kisir with red peppers and tomatoes

    • Breadcrumbs on July 21, 2015

      p. 144 - Delicious! I’ll chime in with my praise for this dish as well. I especially loved the red pepper sauce. I used a jalapeno in mine but it didn’t impart any discernable heat IMHO. I added extra Aleppo pepper to compensate. We thoroughly enjoyed this. I served it with torn pieces of iceberg lettuce so folks could scoop if they wished or, use the spoon to serve. I tasted the dish warm, cold and at room temp and I preferred it warm. It was also great at room temp but I feel the dish loses something when it’s chilled. The tomato-grating tip on CH (cup tomato in palm of hand to grate) worked beautifully. This salad will make repeat appearances throughout the summer this year. I served this with a grilled lamb dish from Morito that was equally delicious. Photo here:

    • L.Nightshade on July 15, 2015

      I made this for a party with several small dishes for nibbling and noshing while standing around toasting. I was glad I started it the day ahead, as my bulgur was gravelly hard after the initial moistening period plus several hours of cooling with the remaining ingredients. It was perfect the next day. Perhaps my bulgur was not sufficiently fine, but it all worked out in the end. I did use Aleppo pepper, and could have used more, but due to its current scarcity, I tend to be sparing. So I amped it up with a touch more pomegranate molasses, salt, and lemon juice. Even before assembly, I felt, as written, there was too much bulgur in proportion to the other ingredients, so I put some of the bulgur aside and was glad I did. (It will work well in meatball with my leftover lamb from another recipe.)

    • FoodieOne on October 03, 2016

      p.144. I do not add water when grinding the peppers. Grate the tomatoes over a bowl to capture all the juice. The pepper paste freezes well, so I make it if I have red peppers that need to used. This dish has been a crowd pleaser around my table for 20 years.

  • Summer squash, tahini, and yogurt dip

    • Breadcrumbs on July 20, 2015

      p. 31 - When I spotted “first-of-the-season” summer squash at my local farmer’s market on Friday I thought of was LN’s review and her note that this was the recipe that everyone was asking for at the end of the evening. I quickly grabbed a couple. When it came time to prepare the dish today I also remembered LN’s comment that the dish was a little colourless so since the skins of my squash were so tender I threw caution to the wind (and acquiesce to my lazy side) and simply chopped the unpeeled squash and sautéd away with reckless abandon. Instead of adding the chopped garlic in a raw state, I tossed it in to the pan when the squash was almost done and sauté it as well. Taking a page from LN’s playbook, I placed my cooked (and cooled) squash in a bowl along with the other ingredients & gave it a good blitz with my Bamix. This is a great recipe and one that I’m confident I’ll be making for years to come. Photo here:

    • TrishaCP on July 18, 2016

      I thought this was fine, but this won't be a repeater unless I have a glut of summer squash or need to do a low carb dish for someone. Just not enough flavor from the squash for this to be the dominant ingredient in my opinion. I do think paprika would help for serving.

    • L.Nightshade on July 15, 2015

      I don’t ever have “cored pulp” from squash (that must be a leftover from really big squash), so I just used peeled and chopped yellow and green zucchini. I used a European yogurt, which was very runny, so I drained it to a thick half-volume as directed. I think if you use a thick Greek yogurt you could skip the draining. Per the recipe, the cooked squash is then stirred in. I wasn’t thrilled with the taste at this point, and didn’t think the lumps of squash really melded and improved it, so I threw everything into the food processor, for a creamy dip. This, plus the salt, pepper, and cumin, did the trick. Once plated it looked a little colorless, so I did a little dusting of more cumin and a tiny bit of mild paprika, plus a few chopped chives. I made this as part of a spread for a small party, and at the end of the evening it was the most-requested recipe. It’s a nice summery alternative to hummus, and it could well be a treat to serve anyone who is low-carbing.

  • Yogurt-garlic sauce

    • Breadcrumbs on July 14, 2015

      p. 27 - It was the versatility of this sauce that enticed me to make the recipe. I read all PW's notes on yogurt and learned quite a bit. She comments that yogurt benefits from draining and then adding water as a lot of the unpleasant, chalky, bitter taste simply disappears. Instead of draining plain, regular yogurt I used Greek yogurt which has 50% less water than regular and is exactly the result Ms W achieves by draining the regular yogurt for several hours. PW notes if the sauce lacks sharpness, added a little lemon zest. I topped w Aleppo and a swirl of evoo. This sauce was exceptional atop everything on our plates from the grilled pita and meat to the roasted asparagus to the stewed potatoes, everything was improved for it’s encounter with this lovely garlicky sauce. This recipe is a must-try for any yogurt or Tzatziki lovers out there, it offers a new and refreshing alternative. Photo here:

    • L.Nightshade on July 27, 2015

      I made a smaller amount of this sauce for zucchini fritters. After draining the yogurt I had left, I had enough to make about a quarter of a recipe, which would be fine for the two of us. I used one whole, but smallish, clove of garlic, and only added a small amount of water as I wanted it somewhat thick. I drizzled it with agrumato, and sprinkled Aleppo pepper on top. A nice accompaniment to the zucchini fritters, and just the right balance of flavors.

  • Cumin-flavored köfte wth two sauces

    • Gio on June 12, 2015

      For "Near East" pepper, sub Aleppo pepper.

  • Köfte with warm eggplant salad

    • Gio on June 12, 2015

      Baharat spice mix = Ral el Hanout.

    • totoro on May 27, 2015

      Very nice combination.

  • Poached apricots

    • Gio on June 12, 2015

  • Mussels saganaki

    • Gio on June 12, 2015

      Rigani = Greek oregano.

  • Okra braised with tomatoes and onions

    • mcvl on July 20, 2021

      Very poor made with frozen cut okra -- undoubtedly better with real little okras, what is wrong with me?

  • Georgian corn bread cakes

    • mcvl on April 26, 2023

      Oh, goodness gracious, these were so good! My husband is a vegan, so we used nondairy cheese (Miyoko's mozzarella and another vegan cheese from the Rebel folks in Austin TX), and the little cakes were simple to put together, quick to bake, and scrumptious to eat with lobio (Georgian bean and walnut stew).

    • TrishaCP on June 02, 2018

      These were simple to make and were good as sides to a Georgian braised beef recipe, but they would have been too dry without a stew-like main course. Interesting, but I would probably check out different versions of this dish before making this version again.

  • Ayfer Ünsal's black lentil pilaf with greens

    • mcvl on June 05, 2015

      Several changes: no meat, no wheat (brown rice instead), yellow summer squash instead of purslane (good texture substitute) -- quite successful, would do it again this way. Probably good in the original as well.

  • Bulgur pilaf with collapsed eggplant and lamb

    • mcvl on June 05, 2015

      Note on this recipe, heaven knows from when: Not very good, too monotonic; also we don't want bulgur cooked that long, even if it is correct.

  • Bulgur salad with red pepper and walnuts

    • Emily Hope on October 15, 2010

      Delicious--absolutely my favorite bulgur recipe. Good as a part of a vegetarian dinner with tomato and feta salad and a carrot salad.

    • eve_kloepper on August 27, 2020

      Just realized that I forgot the ketchup! It was very good anyway. I did reduce the amount of bulgur to 1c and increased the parsley. Will try it next time with the ketchup, but it certainly doesn't need it.

    • stockholm28 on July 13, 2015

      This was just o.k. for me. I thought the ketchup made it a little too sweet.

  • Baked fish fillets with walnut and fresh coriander sauce

    • TrishaCP on November 22, 2020

      We really liked this dish and it was very easy to prepare (used flounder). Something about the recipe title made me think the sauce might be a bit heavy, but I pressed ahead. The sauce is actually quite light tasting from the lemon, and the walnuts are in such a small quantity they don’t overpower the fish. Not sure that I would bother cooking the cilantro again- I think I would just sprinkle on the completed dish.

  • Chicken broiled with lemon and yogurt marinade

    • TrishaCP on July 11, 2015

      We grilled this chicken, and it was pretty delicious. I only had time for a 4-hour marinade, but that was enough time to impart some nice lemony flavor into the meat. I didn't have the hot Hungarian paprika, so subbed hot pimenton and that worked just fine.

    • twoyolks on July 09, 2019

      I didn't find this to be any better or different than most other grilled chicken recipes.

  • Badza with Georgian spices

    • TrishaCP on July 18, 2016

      I served this with grilled Georgian chicken from another book, and it was indeed delicious as Ms. Wolfert says. The raw garlic is pretty potent, but it has a nice complexity from the spices- a typical Georgian combination of fenugreek, ground marigold, and coriander.

  • Georgian grits with cheese

    • TrishaCP on October 04, 2015

      I picked this as a side to go along with more flavorful dishes, and it was ok but not repeatable. I used polenta since that is what I had and cooked mine following my own recipe, and then adding the cheese and salt and pepper at the end. Ms. Wolfert mentions in her notes that this is opposite to Southern style grits which are flavored with a sharper cheese, and I definitely prefer that flavor profile.

  • Georgian meat stew smothered with fresh herbs and sour fruits

    • TrishaCP on May 07, 2018

      I apparently have three versions of chakapuli in my library, and decided to go with this version because, Paula Wolfert! This was a comforting lamb stew with a surprising shock of sour which, keeps it light tasting. (Traditionally, sour plums are used in Georgia, but this recipe calls for cranberries as a substitute. I didn't have either, so used frozen gooseberries, which are mentioned as an acceptable substitute for the plums in "Tasting Georgia.") The recipe calls for pretty formidable quantities of cilantro, parsley, and tarragon (my plant is now pretty decimated), but they cook down and aren't overpowering in the least. To save time, I pressure cooked the (cubed boneless) lamb for about 10 minutes before proceeding with the rest of the recipe, and I would do so again.

  • Georgian spicy and sour beef soup

    • TrishaCP on April 12, 2017

      This was incredibly delicious. I followed a tip from Chowhound and used the Zuni beef stock in place of water to cook the beef (and I used stew meat). It was incredible- deep beef flavor with an intriguing mixture of spice. I did find it slightly too fenugreek-forward (I used the recipe for kharcho spice from the book)- so I might tweak that a bit when I make it again.

  • Kurdish hot and spicy red lentil soup

    • jhappel on January 16, 2016

      Loved this creamy red lentil soup. I had some spicy turkey sausage, so threw that in there. Used extra vegetables. The mint was great.

  • Fresh blackberry sauce

    • L.Nightshade on August 01, 2015

      This is actually one of two sauces that accompanies the Georgian Chicken Tabaka with Two Sauces on page 315. We did the chicken in a similar fashion, there’s not much to it, but cooked it on the grill. So I’m really just reporting on the blackberry sauce. I did not put the berries through a “nonmetallic sieve” as the recipe instructs, I don’t even have a nonmetallic sieve. I just mashed them up a bit, which worked fine. The blackberries were mixed with garlic, cilantro, paprika, and lemon juice. This, to me, is a very compelling combination of flavors. We enjoyed it as an accompaniment to chicken one night, put it on bunless burgers with blue cheese the next night!

  • Fish poached in cumin-flavored tomato sauce

    • L.Nightshade on July 15, 2015

      The fresh fish we ended up with last night was black cod. I debated which recipe to use, eliminating those which required oven time. I eventually eliminated the one with tahini, due to painperdu’s helpful comment that it didn’t bring out the flavor of the fish. I love black cod, and didn’t wish to obscure the flavor. I used red onion in this, as I had so much on hand, and upped the spicing, as Caitlin (and my tastebuds) suggested. Otherwise, as written. This is a lovely dish, especially given that it’s so quick to prepare. I even liked the celery in it, which I sometimes don’t enjoy. The bit of sweetness from the red onion also worked very well. Much appreciated at table.

    • eve_kloepper on April 07, 2014

      very nice weekday fish dish. served with quinoa made in rice cooker

  • Georgian dumplings with cracked black pepper (Khinkali)

    • L.Nightshade on September 01, 2015

      These take quite a while to complete, we barely finished dinner by midnight! The dough recipe makes a perfect 24 dumplings as stated, I had a bit of the filling left over using the prescribed scant tablespoon per dumpling. They were fun, and good, I do love most any kind of dumpling, but I disagree that the don’t need anything else. A little butter even would have gone a long way. Our side dish was the green beans in cinnamon-flavored yogurt, and I kept trying to steal a bit of that yogurt for the dumplings. She does give the option of frying them later in butter, which I would have considered if it hadn’t been after 11pm already!

  • Pandeli's eggplant börek

    • L.Nightshade on July 16, 2015

      The recipe specifies one hour to cook, but in 30 minutes, it was black, completely charcoal black. Perhaps 425º is just too hot? Most things I make with phyllo are cooked at 350º. I was able to save this by carefully removing the top layer of phyllo (and vacuuming up black crumbs!). It wasn’t the most beautiful of dishes, the top was uneven and flaky, and there were a few lightly burnt areas round the edges. (And the vacuum is in pretty bad shape, I don't recommend this technique.) The inside was a bit underdone, but still tasty as all get out. I was impressed how strongly the little bit of creamy ricotta came through in the flavor. And the eggplant had a kind of sweetness to it. I didn’t really miss the cheese I had to scrape off the top, but I bet it would have been great had it been there. It’s a kind of a comfort food to me, but just unusual enough to make it an exotic comfort food. Next time, 350º. Photos here:

  • Pepper fish

    • L.Nightshade on July 22, 2015

      I will say that we felt this dish was prettier before saucing, so if you’re going for presentation, it might be nice to sauce each individual serving, or at least sauce at table. Once the sauce goes on, the dish is garnished with more parsley, cilantro, chopped walnuts, and lemon wedges. Pomegranate arils are also called for, I once again used barberries softened in pomegranate molasses. While we liked this well enough, it won’t go on the do-again list. Mr. NS couldn’t quite wrap his head around the fish/walnut combination. The more he ate of it though, the more he liked it. It just didn’t totally wow us. I actually think I would have preferred it without the tahini sauce.

  • Spicy eastern Mediterranean pizza with meat

    • L.Nightshade on July 15, 2015

      I made LOT of these little babies for a party. The pizzas start on a skillet to cook the bottom, then go under the broiler to finish cooking the meat. I did one tester using the method outlined in the recipe, but because we were trying to get so many done quickly, the rest were done on the grill. PW describes the traditional method of eating these as rolling them up into a tube with eggplant slices. For our party, and not being certain how many people we would be feeding, I cut each one into regular triangular pizza slices, and chopped the grilled eggplant so that a little spoonful could go on each slice. While these were very good, and all got eaten, to my taste they needed a little more… cowbell? I can easily see doing them again, upping the spices and color a bit. After all, browned lamb and brown eggplant just don’t look all that festive.

    • Bloominanglophile on August 26, 2014

      The next time I make these, I will use ground lamb instead of beef-- I think lamb will give them a more authentic flavor. I also want to locate some pomegranate molasses to use instead of the lemon juice. That being said, the beef version is just fine, and they were rather fun to make. I did roll out the individual "pizzas" onto parchment paper, transferred them onto my baking stone, and then removed the paper after a few minutes (and then reused it for the next round of pizzas). I find that to be less of a hassle than using a pizza peel. I also plan to omit the eggplant part of the recipe or find a nice eggplant recipe to serve alongside.

  • Macedonian leek and walnut rolls

    • L.Nightshade on July 27, 2015

      Leeks are sautéed in oil, cooled, and drained, then mixed with grated walnuts, shredded mint, and cheese. Two types of cheeses are specified, one being fresh, the other being hard; I used feta and Asiago. There are a variety of options given, none of which are feta, but I had some to use up. The mixture is rolled up in sheets of phyllo brushed with oil. This recipe made more than the given number of rolls for me, I guess it depends upon the size of one's leeks. It is written that they should start cooking at 400º, and get turned down to 350º after 15 minutes. Given my last pan of black phyllo dough, I just started, and stayed, at 350º, and they came out perfectly. After they cool a bit they are to be sliced into nine even slices. That seemed too small to me, I was afraid they’d fall apart, so I went with four slice for each roll. These were a winner for us. The leeks cook up nice and sweet, the walnuts add texture, and the cheese holds it all together with a sharp, salty richness.

  • "Split tummies" of stuffed eggplants

    • apronless on September 17, 2011

      Don't be afraid to pile on the tomatoes on top. They add a sweet dimension to the dish that keeps the cloves in check.

  • Hot and sweet red pepper dip with walnuts and pomegranates (Muhammara)

    • Krisage on July 04, 2012

      Omitted the sugar and added an extra T of molasses. Also, used Aleppo flakes in place of the fresh peppers. Made without crumbs for a gluten-free friend, to good effect--slightly thinner consistency, but still yummy!

    • Yildiz100 on July 06, 2015

      Started with making the recipe exactly as written, and found it a little bland. I ended up adding a little more lemon and olive oil. Her recipe calls for significantly less oil than another that I use-Ayla Algar's from "Classical Turkish Cooking" so the oil garnish is not optional. Without it the flavors seem flat. This one also calls for a higher proportion of walnuts to bell peppers and the ratio seemed a little off to me. The color was pretty pale and not the signature brick color that muhammara should have. One thing I did prefer about this recipe-it had no garlic. I love garlic but I like this for a more mellow dip. Next time I will follow Ayla's recipe but I will omit the garlic.

  • All-purpose pie dough with yeast

    • Bloominanglophile on August 26, 2014

      Easy dough to work with. The three recipes in this book that require this dough only use a half-recipe, so you can freeze the other half for another time.

  • Quick red pepper paste

    • Bloominanglophile on August 26, 2014

      This is paste is part of the filling that is spread on the Spicy Eastern Mediterranean Pizzas, but it is delicious on its own. I cheated and used Melissa's Fire Roasted Sweet Bell Peppers from a jar instead of roasting my own, but they have such a strong roasted flavor that I don't feel bad at all! I could see serving this paste as a dip alongside hummus, especially with some toasted pita. I'm sure one could find many other uses for this condiment.

  • Syrian brown-speckled bread made with yeast (Markouk)

    • Yildiz100 on July 20, 2015

      This was a little labor intensive but it turned out a delicious bread. I made this only once maybe 4 years ago and now I am thinking it is time to make it again!

  • Yogurt cake

    • Yildiz100 on November 04, 2012

      not bad, but probably wouldn't repeat. Not fond of the tahini and found it a little dry. If I repeated this I would not use tahini and use alot of syrup so it is ccompletely soaked.

  • Balkan fresh tomato salad

    • Yildiz100 on October 21, 2018

      A really delicious variation on a tomato pepper salad. I love the roasted green pepper, which isn't as overpowering as a roasted red pepper would be, while still contributing that texture and smokiness. For the tomatoes, used three small Roma tomatoes. Followed the directions exactly.

  • Damascus-style börek in a tray

    • Yildiz100 on July 02, 2020

      I used a mix of feta and mozzarella for the cheese. This is a delicious pie, but the texture is a bit chewy. Maybe due to the flour in the final mix poured over before baking?

  • Creamy walnut and pomegranate sauce

    • sherrib on July 18, 2015

      I didn't have Aleppo pepper so I substituted with a mix of paprika and hot paprika as suggested by Wolfert's website: I used powdered saffron instead of marigold petals as that is what I had on hand. The one issue I had is that I couldn't form a smooth sauce until AFTER the diluted pomegranate molasses had been added in. Other than that, though a bit involved, this yielded a deliciously pungent and exotic dip. We like our foods very very flavorful around here so I ended up using a bit more pomegranate molasses, salt and pepper than what the recipe called for (but probably could have left it alone as the flavors get stronger with time.)

  • Stuffed eggplants with tomato-pomegranate sauce

    • sherrib on July 18, 2015

      A gem of a recipe! Delicious balance of flavors and textures. Final dish is meaty, spicy, sour and sweet. Spectacular. I used more lamb than the recipe called for and it had a higher fat content than the recipe called for so my finished dish could have used a bit more of the sauce (more of the sweet and sour would have balanced the extra fat better.) I mixed my own Syrian Mixed Spices from Wolfert's recipe on her website: Also, I halved and cored the eggplants instead of coring them whole. This meant that I couldn't fry them on all sides before simmering stovetop, so, instead, I put it entirely in the oven from beginning to end. Photo of the finished dish here:

  • An Arabian stew of chickpeas, eggplant, and tomatoes

    • totoro on July 06, 2020

      Yum - hearty and savoury, and very nutritious. I used both spices and all of the olive oil, and don't regret it.

    • tmitra on January 23, 2022

      In my opinion, more reminiscent of ratatouille than moussaka but with some additional flavors. I served it with a bulgur pilaf and tzatziki (though from other sources) and naan. I look forward to making it again; with the big chunks of eggplant, it's a satisfying vegetarian dinner.

    • Shelmar on February 08, 2021

      Less flavorful than I had hoped.

  • Thracian summer salad with purslane, tomatoes, and cucumbers

    • MmeFleiss on June 23, 2017

      Wonderful, garlicky salad.

  • Tray köfte, Gaziantep style

    • ashallen on October 27, 2019

      These are great - really nice flavor. I also like the way they look - the difference in shades of brown between the outer bulgur layers and the inner lamb layer reminds me of a layer cake! Texture of the bulgur layer is cohesive and a bit dense - I liked it (reminds me of meatloaf), but my husband would have liked it to have been lighter. They're quite rich/filling so one tray provides a lot of servings. Leftovers keep and freeze well. Careful when microwaving - it can get rubbery if overheated. Making this wasn't difficult, but sufficient time to work through the series of steps is needed. Season to taste - I added significantly more salt than specified in the recipe and think it would have been bland had I not done so. Next time I'll also add more parsley than specified - its flavor worked really well in the dish. Top surface didn't brown significantly during the broiler step but I'm guessing it's not meant to - flavor was still very good.

  • Black-eyed peas with scallions, walnuts, and parsley

    • jenburkholder on November 12, 2020

      This was good. I made it for lunches for the week and served with corn tortillas (yes, weird, but it was what was in the house), yogurt, cucumber, and roasted cauliflower. If you cook the black-eyed peas in advance, it's very quick. The flavors were nothing exceptional, but it was very fresh and particularly nice with the cinnamon-y cauliflower and yogurt. Would make again if I had the ingredients laying around.

  • Gaziantep summer salad with purslane

    • jenburkholder on August 23, 2021

      This was good, but we got fed up with the purslane, so we only used about half and just more bell pepper. Very tasty; refreshing.

  • Small brown peas (Ful)

    • Ganga108 on April 09, 2022

      I began with Roden's recipe for Ful Medames in The New Book of Middle Eastern Food, and checked this recipe for cooking notes, seasonings and toppings. See that recipe for notes on the resulting dish. Extremely delicious!

  • Spinach roots and stems with lemon and olive oil

    • Ganga108 on October 10, 2023

      Would you believe I have this beautiful book and have never made anything from it? Unacceptable in this household. And Paula Wolfert too! Well, I have spinach stems left over from the Nigel Slater Greenfeast recipe I made the other day (divine), so I am using this recipe with the suggested Pine nut tarator on P20. Pine nuts go exceptionally well with spinach stalks so this should be a great dish. UPDATE: easily made, and delicious.

  • Turkish tarator with almonds or pine nuts

    • Ganga108 on October 10, 2023

      I love her suggestions for using this sauce/dip/dressing - and includes one of my favourite spring/summer time salad ingredient - purslane. It could become a regular sauce/dip/dressing in our house. It is best made with a good blender rather than a hand-held style blender, to make it smooth. I used it with her Spinach Stem recipe on P200.

  • Dandelion, Swiss chard, and cheese pie

    • sayeater on November 03, 2021

      This is so delicious! Even if I did forget to add the ricotta/cottage cheese. I subbed collards for swiss chard, following same prep directions. The greens in the pie came out so tender and creamy that the ricotta wasn't even missed. Going back for a second piece now!

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  • ISBN 10 0060166517
  • ISBN 13 9780060166519
  • Published Feb 05 1998
  • Format Hardcover
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher HarperCollins Publishers Inc
  • Imprint HarperCollins

Publishers Text

Child & Beard Awards! Paula Wolfert delights with personal adventures & 215 flavorful, healthful recipes from Macedonia, Turkey, Syria & the Black Sea countries.

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